Fragments of Occult Truth (article)

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The Fragments of Occult Truth is a series of articles published in The Theosophist in the early 1880's. The articles were written by Allan Octavian Hume and Alfred Percy Sinnett, based upon teachings they received from H. P. Blavatsky and the letters written by Mahatmas K.H. and M.

The first three "Fragments" were written by A. O. Hume, without signing them, and published in The Theosophist on October 1881 (pp. 17-22), March 1882 (pp. 157-160), and September 1882 (pp. 307-314). These articles are replies to letters written by Australian Theosophist William H. Terry about the Spiritualistic phenomena and the occult explanation of them. The first article in the series marks the first time that the seven-fold constitution of human beings was publicly taught in Theosophical literature. In 1895 G. R. S. Mead wrongly assigned them to Mme. Blavatsky, publishing them in the book A Modern Panarion.

On November 1882 an article entitled "Occult Fragments and the Book of Khiu-Te" was written by "N.D.K.---, F.T.S." (assigned by some to Mme. Blavatsky), commenting upon the teachings of the first "Fragment".

The later installments of the "Fragments" were written by Mr. Sinnett and signed by him as "A Lay-Chela" (authorized by Mahatma K.H. in Letter 68 (ML-16)). They were published in The Theosophist on October (pp. 2-5) and November 1882 (pp. 46-48), and March (pp. 131-135), April (pp. 161-164), and May 1883 (pp. 194-195). The titles of the articles were the following:

  • Fragments of Occult Truth (IV) The Evolution of Man -- A Lay Chela
  • Fragments on Occult Truth (V) The Evolution of Man - Continued -- (Anon)
  • Fragments of Occult Truth (VI) Devachan -- A Lay Chela
  • Fragments of Occult Truth (VII) The Human Life Wave -- A Lay Chela
  • Fragments of Occult Truth (VIII) The Progress of Humanity -- A Lay Chela

Most of the information in these articles was later used by A. P. Sinnett in his book Esoteric Buddhism.

On March 1883, following the sixth installment of the Fragments, there is an "Appendix to 'Devachan'," which consists of five notes (from A to E) without stating the author. In Letter 104 (ML-25) KH writes, "Hence — my orders to a chela to reproduce in an Appendix to your article extracts from this letter and explanations calculated to disabuse the reader,.." Much of the Appendix is verbatim from this letter.

On May 1883 (p. 202) Franz Hartmann wrote the article "Devachan (Explanations of Fragments of Occult Truth)" and on July of that year (p. 252) there was an anonymous article "Karma (An Appendix to Fragments of Occult Truth)" which has been assigned to Mme. Blavatsky.

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